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Florence Henri

1893 New York
1982 Compiègne

Florence Henri, born in New York on June 28, 1893, was an important member of the "New Vision" movement. At first she studied music, and then painting, training in Berlin, Munich, and Paris, and in 1927 she enrolled at the Bauhaus in Dessau. There she took courses from Josef Albers and László Moholy-Nagy, and took an interest in photography.
It was through Moholy-Nagy in particular that she discovered new possibilities of experimental photography and extreme perpective views, multiple exposures, photograms, and photomontages.
In the following years Florence Henri took part in the pioneering exhibitions "Film und Foto" (FiFo) in Stuttgart and "Photographie der Gegenwart" (Photography of the Present). In 1929 she moved to Paris, where she opened up a studio for advertising photography, working for "Vogue", "Art et Decoration", and "The New York Herald". She did commissions for fashion, advertising, and portrait photography. Her images featured unusual perspectives and are carefully cropped. Florence Henri specialized in portrait photography and became acquainted with Germaine Krull, André Kertész, Man Ray, and Maurice Tabard. She experimented with prisms, multiple exposures, and mirrors.
In addition to portraits of well-known figures of the Paris cultural scene, she also did anonymous portraits ("Portrait Compositions"), many self-portraits, and so-called "Mirror Compositions", which occupy a central place in her body of artistic work. In this arranged still-life photography, Florence Henri multiplied the perspective of objects using a number of carefully positioned mirrors, so that the real object can not be distinguished from the mirror image. These photographs brought her work close to Constructivism and Cubism.
In 1963 Henri moved to Bellival, Picardie, and gave up photography, turning instead to abstract painting.
Florence Henri died in Compiègne on July 24, 1982.

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